Michele Cheek is no stranger to people experiencing homelessness. Through her tenure with the Greensboro Interfaith Hospitality Network and Family Promise, Cheek has worked with families experiencing homelessness for over nine years. But now as Director and Case Manager for the YWCA Emergency Family Shelter, Cheek is pleased to witness the direct benefit to each child at the shelter who receives a Comfort BackPack from BackPack Beginnings.
The YWCA’s shelter was founded in 2015 to help families with children experiencing homelessness. The shelter provides temporary housing for 365 days a year. Families not only receive a hot meal and a safe place to stay, but also care and concern from dedicated staff and volunteers.
The younger kids are all smiles and hugs
when they receive their backpack.”
On any given day, the shelter might house up 10 families with 23 children of all ages. While occasional donations from volunteers in the community certainly help, the quarterly donations of Comfort BackPacks ensure that every child will receive a backpack stuffed with items such as blankets, stuffed animals, books, hygiene products and school supplies. The shelter received 72 of them this year from BPB.
Cheek says the children are enthusiastic about their backpacks. “The younger kids are all smiles and hugs when we give them theirs,” she says. “With the older kids, especially the teenagers, it’s a modest and humble response. They have something new and clean of their own. They smile and say thank you and I can tell how impactful it is to them.”
The many volunteers and donations from the community bring hope for the children at the shelter. Cheek says she is deeply touched by how much the Greensboro cares. “It demonstrates that there is a real community in Greensboro.”
If you would like to become a BackPack Beginnings volunteer, please visit our volunteer page. Want to host a comfort drive? Your donations will allow us to serve more children in traumatic situations.
Written on 6/6/16 by blogger Carole Perkins.